Searching for the Genetic Basis of Hygienic Behavior and Overwintering in the Honeybee (Apis mellifera)
Patel, Harshilkumar Subhashchandra
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The recent decline in honeybee populations can be mitigated through genomics and marker-assisted selection. The current techniques, such as chemical treatment to prevent disease, are only short-term solutions. The ability to breed honeybees that are disease and winter resistant would be ideal. Current breeding techniques lack knowledge of predictive markers that may improve these traits. Here we perform a genome-wide association study on 925 colonies by measuring hygienic and overwintering behavior of the colonies, followed by sequencing their genomes. L1 regression is a technique developed to pick the best Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms that explain the variance in the phenotype. Using L1 regression, we found 27 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms for hygiene and 32 Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms for overwintering behaviour that could be used to breed for healthier and winter hardy honeybees.